A religion like Orthodox Christianity, supposedly based on divinely inspired knowledge, has to be concerned with how that knowledge is acquired and disseminated. As usually presented, that knowledge is contained in the Bible and properly interpreted and promoted by the institutional church through its ministers. That mechanism for handling divine knowledge is the very reason for the church.
Supposedly, the Bible provides the means whereby man can test all knowledge and verify its divine origin. The sacred book is the tool provided by God to enable anyone to know the Truth and to separate that Truth from merely assumed or invented "truth".
When as a part of its claimed mission, the church insists that everyone submit to their interpretation of biblical requirements then it becomes necessary to "prove" the church's understanding of the Bible. The divine words must be known and then properly deciphered. Thus, we experience what is known as expository preaching, the ability by some to explain a passage of scripture verse by verse in the correct manner. Furthermore, we witness the church's development of a theological framework, which supposedly identifies the
Inexplicably, this historical functioning of the institutional church is a basic contradiction of the insistence that the only reliable source of divine knowledge is the Bible. By introducing into the process of knowing the Truth the idea and even the necessity to have human intermediaries, the church implies that Truth does not come from the Bible alone. Instead, in most cases, the Truth requires human agents who process it on the way to the hearer. That processing is a direct denial of the assertion that the Truth derives solely from the Bible. Instead Truth or divine knowledge comes from a combination of a source document and specially endowed human reasoning.
In fact, a great number of the church's ministers claim that they are appointed by God as Bible interpreters and teachers. That claim raises the question of how that appointment, or calling as it is often known, was communicated to the called one. Whatever the means of communication, we know that it did not come from the Bible itself. The very suggestion of divine calling means that the minister making that claim insists that we accept a source of divine knowledge separate from the Bible. That, in turn, means that if the minister can receive a direct divine revelation, others can also. Logically, divine knowledge and guidance then becomes a personal matter divorced from a sacred
The whole insistence by institutional Christianity on human ministers and a simultaneous assertion that divine revelation is based exclusively on the Bible is a house of cards. They mouth the words "sola scriptura" (Bible only) and turn right around and add other sources of divine knowledge: prayer, divine callings, personal words of prophecy, guidance of the Holy Spirit, dreams, visions, and special revelations. There is hardly a church minister out there who does not believe in at least one of these extra biblical sources of divine knowledge and guidance. Bible only Christianity is a myth, a handy myth to be sure.
Since the church is clearly not committed to a Bible only revelation, the rest of us should promptly assert our right to direct revelation. Untying ourselves from human religious ministers as the approved source of divine knowledge is religious freedom at its finest.